LG Optimus G – much better than Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X+

It is mistakenly called LG’s answer to the Samsung Galaxy S3, but the new LG Optimus G is clearly a superior phone to the Samsung model though it is priced Rs 2,000 more.

LG said it is launching the Jelly Bean 4.7-inch Optimus G two days after the phone actually started showing up on retail websites for Rs 31,000.

Most people have called it LG’s competitor for the S3, but that is missing the point as a deeper review of the phone’s capabilities and specifications reveals.

The Optimus was launched a full six months after the Galaxy S3 was — and has the technical advantages to show for it.

First, the LG model is based on the Krait achitechture developed by Qualcomm, paired with the powerful Adreno 320 graphics processor.

The Galaxy SIII, on the other hand, is based on Samsung’s Exynos 4 platform.

There is no question of which set has more power. The Exynos is the older of the two – and is based on the ARM Cortex A9 design. The A9 is the workhorse of smartphone and tablet chips, and the design powers nearly all the high end smartphones released in the early 2012 period.

However, the Cortex A9 processor design has been superseded by more advanced Cortex A-15 design, which is supposed to be 40% more powerful. Chipsets based on the A-15 have already been released by Nvidia under the ‘Tegra 4’ name, though actual phone models are yet to hit the market.

Similarly, Samsung’s own ‘Exynos 5’ will also feature the Cortex A-15 design, as will the OMAP 5 from Texas Instruments. However, phones with these chips will hit the market only by the middle of 2013.

So where does that leave the LG Optimus G, and the Krait-based Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset? The S4 sits between the A-9 and the A-15. The Krait CPU has features that are better than those based on A9 and but often fall short of A15 specifications.

For example, in terms raw processing power as measured by a widely used scale, the A9 design provides for 2.5 DMIPS/MHz while the A-15 promises 3.5 DMIPS/MHz. Krait scroes 3.3 DMIPS/MHz.

In case of L2 Cache, the A9 offers 1 MB while the Krait provides for 2 MB and A-15 can have 4-8 MB.

In other words, the CPU on the LG Optimus G can be rated to be about 25-35% more powerful than the Exynos 4 that powers the Galaxy S3. The difference can be perceived in benchmark tests, such as that by Antutu.

The Galaxy scores 4072 for CPU integer calcuation on Antutu, while the Optimus G gets 4772. In addition, the Krait is manufactured on the 28 nanometer scale, leading to lower power consumption, while the Exynos 4 is based on the 32 nanometer technology.

The newer technology “makes consumers day to day activities like web- browsing, reading e-books and playing high-end games easy and fun-filled experience,” says LG in its announcement of the phone launch. Though both models have a 2100 mAh (2.1 Ampere) battery, the LG model can be expected to run longer.

The difference can also be seen in the graphics processor department. The Mali 400MP that is found in the Exynos 4 is older than the Adreno 320. The Adreno supports HDMI out of QXGA resolution — or about 3.5 million pixels, while the Mali 400 supports only full-HD HDMI (2 million pixels.)

Not surprisingly, the LG Optimus comes with 2 GB of RAM while the S3 has only 1 GB.

In other words, in terms of power, the LG model can be assumed to be about 40% or so more powerful than the Galaxy model, but costs only about 7% more.

In terms of camera resolution, the new model has 13 megapixels against the 8 megapixels on the SIII.

The only downside is that the LG phone has a 4.7 inch display, while the Samsung one has a 5-inch one. However, it must be noted that the viewing area of the LG phone may be comparable to that of the Samung model as it has a more ‘squarer’ aspect ratio at 15:9, while Samsung has 16:9. In the end, except for watching 16:9 video, the LG phone may be just as large as the Samsung one.

In addition, since the LG display has 6.6% more pixels, the density of pixels on it is about 320 per inch (ppi) compared to 306 for the other one.

“LG’s true HD IPS Plus technology brings Optimus G’s 4.7 inch display to life. The Optimus G is equipped with Zerogap Touch display technology. This technology brings visuals closer to the surface of the screen and gives a more immersive experience,” LG said.

The phone also has a SmartShutter feature that senses movement and automatically adjusts shutter speed to capture blur-free images.

Besides the S3, the LG model will also compete against the HTC One X and the HTC One X+. However, both the phones are based on the same Cortex A-9 platform, they too are slightly dated when compared with the new launch. The HTC One X was released in May, like the S3, while the One X+, which comes with 1 GB of memory and Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, was released in November, like the Optimus.

In addition, the two HTC models are priced at Rs 3,000 and Rs 7,000 more than the newly launched phone.

In other words, till the Samsung Galaxy S4 based on the Exynos 5 platform launches in India in mid 2013, the LG smartphone is going to remain unbeaten in terms of raw power. Going by Samsung’s track record, there is also a chance that the S4 may be priced in the range of Rs 43,000 or so. By then, the price of the LG model would be closer to about Rs 28,500 or so.